Bid to increase big cat population in Palamu reserve
18 Jun 2009, 0434 hrs IST, Divy Khare, TNN
RANCHI: Now honeymoon enclosures for tigers in Palamu Tiger Reserve. In a bid to check the declining number of tigers and raise their numbers, the wildlife wing of state forest department has geared up to set up separate enclosures for females and male tigers in Palamu Tiger Reserve. These enclosures would be made in a format that helps male and female tigers come close to each other for mating.
The tiger reserve, located some 170 kms from here, is spread over 1026 sq kms in Palamu district. As per the last census conducted in 2007, only 16 tigers remain in the reserve. Only one female tiger named Rani was spotted twice in the span of a year. Apart from recovering scats, pug marks and bodies of dead animals, forest staff have nothing as proof of presence of tigers.The only evidence of tiger presence in the reserve is tourists’ claim of spotting a tiger from time to time.
According to CCF (Wildlife) S K Sharma, the department has been directed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to increase the tiger population.
“For that, we are planning to set 50 hectares of two separate enclosures for two female tigers. These enclosures will be part of 200 acre of larger enclosure of a male tiger. The enclosure of each tigress would have exit point to male enclosed space. The big cats will be provided complete seclusion and freedom to lead a life that is suitable for extending their families in these enclosures,” he said.
“The enclosures will be set up on Sariska model, a tiger reserve located in Alwar district of Rajasthan,” Sharma added.
Cubs, if any, will be put with female tigers for a year-and-a-half till they grew up after which they will be released in jungles with radio-collars which will help in monitoring their movements closely, he added.
While none of the forest staff has spotted a tiger in the reserve, the forest officials are planning to import two female tigers and a male tigers from other reserves and zoos .
The department is also planning to create a corridor for big cats from forests in Jharkhand through the Palamau-Garwah district to Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to encourage breeding of tigers, sources said.